Meet Kevin. He’s 55, has been with the same technology company for a dozen years and handles a single large client. Years of hard work have yielded robust relationships and account opportunities that help him meet or exceed quota year after year -- making Kevin an invaluable part of the team. However, ask Kevin and he’ll tell you something is missing. Sure the money is great and he has managed to accomplish wonderful things in his personal life including getting his boys through college on a single income, buying the house of his dreams and living an enviable lifestyle. But internally Kevin is restless as he grapples with the uncertainties of what to next with his career. Should he go into management? Sock enough away and pursue his life-long desire for travel? Ask for another account that may present more of a challenge?
Recently I have been coaching sales executives exactly like Kevin who are quite mature in their careers -- years of experience and much strategic account training behind them. Some remain extremely successful in sales yet others are no longer cutting the mustard and are plagued with sagging quota attainment. And for those who continue to pull in great numbers, the victories ring hollow. The money is great. But joy in work well done is elusive. They are mentally tired or bored. Or, these senior account executives are increasingly frustrated for a variety of internal and personal reasons among which is found a lack of what to do next in their careers.
If you find yourself in this predicament here are some useful activities:
- Build a vision of what you want your life and career to look like.
- Create exciting and motivating personal, career and/or sales goals that support that vision.
- Follow up with a 1, 3, 5 and even 10 year plan of how you would like to be living your life including what you would like to accomplish, learn and do – even where you want to live. Make it a sales plan attaimnent plan if you like where you are but just can't seem to bring in the numbers anymore.
- And similar to achieving a large yearly quota that must be broken up into daily sales activities so it is with your any plan. Identifying the things you can do right now to move yourself in the direction of your dreams is key.
Planning is a work in progress so it’s important to revisit your blueprint periodically to make sure you are on track and tweak it if necessary.
One of my very favorite quotes by Thoreau is posted on my bathroom mirror. It helped me transition from the security of successful account management to business owner and sales coach. It continues to motivate daily:
“Go in the direction of your dreams and live the life you’ve imagined”
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